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Mercury C557
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For new CAFE rules, automakers place high-stakes tech bets - AutoWeek
By DAVE GUILFORD
updated on: 03/23/10, 09:30 et

Game-changing 2015 fuel economy rules are forcing vehicle development teams to make high-stakes bets on expensive technologies--bets that will separate the winners from the also-rans.

Not only do federal rules target a 2015 fleet average of 35.5 mpg, up from the current 27.5 mpg for cars and 23.1 mpg for light trucks; they force automakers to bet on different technology packages for each vehicle segment. Companies that do best at mixing technologies while keeping down costs will have an advantage when buyers wince at higher stickers.

It's a much more complex game than in the past...

SUBCOMPACT CARS
-- Electric power steering (no belt/engine drain)
-- 6-speed automatic transmission (will become dominant N.A. transmission)
-- Dual clutch transmission (mostly by European brands)
-- Continuously variable transmission (mostly by Japanese brands)
-- Variable valve timing/variable valve lift (will become almost standard)
-- Stop-start system
-- Hybrid technology (limited use; mostly for compact, mid-sized cars)

COMPACT CARS
-- Electric power steering
-- 6-speed automatic transmission
-- Dual clutch transmission
-- Continuously variable transmission
-- Variable valve timing/variable valve lift
-- Stop-start system (with manual transmission)
-- Hybrid technology
-- Gasoline direct injection (heavy use by U.S., European brands)
-- Plug-in hybrid

MID-SIZED CARS
-- Electric power steering
-- 6-speed automatic transmission
-- Dual clutch transmission
-- Continuously variable transmission
-- Variable valve timing/variable valve lift
-- Stop-start system (with manual transmission)
-- Hybrid technology
-- Gasoline direct injection
-- Mass reduction
-- Turbochargers (often used with gasoline direct injection)

FULL-SIZED BODY ON FRAME TRUCKS
-- 6-speed automatic transmission
-- Diesel engines
-- Variable valve timing/variable valve lift
-- Cylinder deactivation (especially by GM, Chrysler)
-- Hybrid technology (especially dual mode for GM, BMW, Daimler)
-- Gasoline direct injection
-- Reduction of mass (especially important in this segment)
-- Turbochargers (for gasoline direct injection and diesels)


more...
 

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Mercury C557
Joined
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22,734 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
my buddy America 123 thought this article went with the one above...
...good enough for me :)


New catalytic converter material could make for cleaner, cheaper cars - USAtoday
Mar 26, 2010
By Elizabeth Weise
Imagine a fuel-efficient, clean-burning diesel engine that costs $1,000 to $5,000 less than those built today. That's the possibility raised by research published this week in the journal Science, from chemical engineers at GM who've found a way to substitute a cheap mineral for wedding-ring-quality metals in catalytic converters.

The GM chemists found a way to use a mineral called perovskite, doped with strontium, in place of the expensive precious metals. It's something of a holy grail in the industry, which many groups have been working on for the past 15 years. While the GM scientists were focusing on diesel engines, their technology should also work in gasoline engines.

"It's an order of magnitude cheaper," says Chang Hwan Kim, a chemical engineer at GM's technology center in Warren, Mich. and the senior author on the paper.

"It's a really significant step forward," says Charles Peden, a chemist and director of the Institute for Interfacial Catalysis at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. "The high cost of platinum is really causing problems for these new emissions control technologies."

Getting cars today to be both fuel efficient and low-emission is a difficult trade-off.

To make a car fuel efficient, you want to get a mix of air and fuel that burns as much of the fuel as possible. But to put out few pollutants, the current catalyst technology requires that not all the fuel is burned. "The catalytic converter doesn't work if it doesn't have enough unburnt fuel," says Peden.

The catalytic converter changes the smog-creating chemicals nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide put out by the engine into harmless nitrogen.

To cut down on smog car companies began adding catalytic converters to their products in the 1970s. Those catalytic converters used precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium as catalysts, to speed up the conversion of the nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide into plain nitrogen. It's this technology that's decreased air pollution from cars tremendously over the past 15 years. But it's also raised their price.

Newer catalytic converters require less unburnt fuel to work, but in order to do so they require a lot more platinum or other precious metals. And with prices going up, that's been a huge headache for auto manufacturers.

"There are still a few things we have to work on to develop this as a commercial product, but we were very excited," says Kim.
 
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